September 13, 2021

Let’s Talk Energy Options in New York State

New York has had a deregulated energy market since the late 90s. This means that New York energy users can choose from multiple providers based on what best suits their needs. This system allows for increased competition between companies, making the experience better for customers. New York state is served primarily by seven electric utilities distributing electricity and natural gas to their respective areas. These companies own most of the energy infrastructure in the state.


The New York State population of 20.4 million people has a lot of energy options. Let’s break those down.

 

The seven largest utility companies in New York State are National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), Con Edison, and KeySpan Long Island. These providers all work with renewable energy companies like ClearPath Energy, by purchasing the lower-priced clean energy they produce. The utilities will then pass that clean energy on to their customers through their infrastructure.


Another energy option available to New York State customers is an ESCO, or Energy Service Company. An ESCO is the middle man between a utility company and a renewable energy source. Subscribing to an ESCO will add a small increase to your electricity bill, which is unlike owning solar panels, which saves you money over time, or signing up for community solar, where you get a discount on your bill every month. ESCOs work by buying and selling "RECs" or Renewable Energy Certificates. This clean energy does not technically come to your home. The ESCO buys RECs on your behalf, and these RECs can be generated by a solar or wind farm anywhere in the United States. ESCOs are available to anyone to sign up, so if you don’t own a home, own solar panels, or don’t live near a community solar project, they are perfect for you. 


Community solar offers New Yorkers an option to get clean, renewable energy without having to change utility companies, AND you’ll save money every month. 


What is Community Solar: 

Community solar allows New Yorkers to save up to 10% on their utility bill every month. Community solar is for those who want to use clean, renewable energy, but don’t want to deal with the installation of solar panels onto their own home. Community solar is a solar farm of hundreds of thousands of solar panels in one centralized location. The power generated from these farms fills the electric grid with clean renewable energy, saving customers money and decreasing the need for environmentally damaging natural gas and coal. You’ll keep your current electric utility and when your electric bill comes every month, you’ll see a discount or savings on the bill. Our goal with ClearPath Energy Community Solar is to make sure we focus on keeping the power with those who need it most.

 

Who Can Use Community Solar?

Opting into a community solar project is as easy as selecting a community solar company that works for you. More than 50% of the residents of the United States live in homes or apartments that do not qualify for roof or ground mount solar systems. With community solar, the only requirement is that you pay an electric bill, this includes renters, those who live in apartments, co-op/condo owners, or if your house is just in a shady area, you can participate in community solar programs. There is no installation required to participate, subscribers are receiving the benefits lower priced clean renewable energy directly through their utility who is working in partnership with the community solar developer. Most of the time you don't even need to be local to the region the project is built in!

Community solar offerings vary depending on your state and state policy. In New York State, where ClearPath Energy owns and operates community solar projects, subscribers benefit from Consolidated Billing. Introduced in 2019, consolidated billing policy allows for customers to now receive a credit directly on their bill representing their subscription to a community solar project. No more navigating two energy provider invoices, now you see your savings directly allocated to your monthly bill.

With no cost associated with being subscribed, the freedom to unsubscribe whenever you want and the benefit of lowering your monthly electricity bill - community solar is a no brainer!

The trick is finding a project in NY state that has subscriber spots. Community solar projects can only take so many subscribers which is why they open their spots early before the project is completed. Time is of the essence. NationalGrid customers can subscribe now to the available spots that ClearPath Energy has within their community solar program. Customers of other utilities can navigate to the user friendly NYSERDA community solar map, where they can find other community solar providers.